Exec sentenced in PPP loan scam, must forfeit boat and $3.3M | Business Observer

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FORT MYERS — Southwest Florida roofing company executive Casey David Crowther has been sentenced to three years and one month in federal prison after being convicted in a PPP loan fraud case where he bought a $700,000 boat, among other expenditures, with the ill-gotten gains.    

On March 26 a federal jury convicted Crowther, 35, of Fort Myers, on bank fraud, making a false statement to a lending institution and two counts of money laundering. Senior U.S. District Judge John Steele handed down the sentence July 1. The court, according to a statement, also ordered Crowther to forfeit $2,739,081.21; $630,482.37; and a 40’ catamaran boat, which were the proceeds of the PPP fraud and the mortgage fraud offenses. The boat was a 2020 Invincible Catamaran boat purchased from Sara Bay Marina in Sarasota.

Before the trial started in March, Crowther pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud and one count of making a false statement to a financial institution, which were related to a mortgage fraud scheme, the release states. As part of the mortgage fraud scheme, Crowther created false bank statements to justify a loan he had used to purchase a nearly $1.3 million waterfront house in St. James City.

According to evidence at the trial, Crowther obtained a $2.1 million PPP loan by falsely stating he had intended to use the money to make payroll and pay rent and utilities for his company, Fort Myers-based Target Roofing and Sheet Metal Inc. “However, Crowther intended to use the money to enrich himself and, once the loan was obtained, quickly used the proceeds to make a series of personal purchases including a nearly $700,000 boat and a $100,000 payment to a former business partner,” the release from the U.S. Attorneys office states. “Crowther concealed the scheme by providing false explanations for the expenditures to his bank, calling the boat ‘equipment’ and the payment to his former partner ‘payroll.’”

Under the terms of the PPP program, Crowther did not have to pay back the loan if he used at least 60% of the proceeds on payroll. To falsely make it appear he met that threshold, authorities contended Crowther created dozens of fake employees to whom he purportedly paid wages: by adding multiple family members to his company’s payroll, even though they did not actually perform work; and, separately, by creating 39 other fake employees, for whom he obtained fake identification documents — including Social Security cards — that he provided to his company’s human resources to be placed in the files of the “employees.”

The United States Secret Service investigated the case. Assistant United States Attorneys Trent Reichling and Michael Leeman prosecuted the case and Assistant United States Attorney Suzanne Nebesky obtained the forfeitures.

 

 

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